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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Al Yisroel v'al HaRobbonon

A former boss of mine who was 80 years old at the time once told me that the Rebbe in his home town in Poland ran a grocery by day and was a Rebbe in the evening.
I was young, and laughed.

Yes, post war, working in a grocery would be a major blot on a Rebbe's stature. But in my opinion there is a decided advantage to a Rebbe who is always on the same page and struggling in the same universe as his chassidim.

My goal here is not to write about Rebbes, Rabbonim or Roshei Yeshiva. My concern is the much larger population of mechanchim, melamdim and mashgichim busily tunnelling their way into a parallel but distinct universe.

50 years ago everyone read the Times and listened to the radio (yes, I mean it).

Over time, especially in the last 10-12 years radio became graphically worse, and over the same period know-nothing forces seized the opportunity to gain the upper hand in our community while the rest of us were out to lunch.
One example? 20 years ago many chassidishe mesivtas had Regent's diplomas. Now even many litvishe mesivtas don't. Progress? I think not.

Denizens of the daled amos and straphangers now exist in a spiritual apartheid.

The internet, and the bans on same, have accelerated and aggravated this trend. I daven in a Bais Medrash where melamdim, mashgichim and menahelim are the majority. I also get together regularly with friends who are roughly the same age as myself for some learning, and some discussion. These friends are largely mechanchim, and they set the atmosphere. I respect the Torah and hashkafa they bring to the table. However, it is increasingly divorced from the reality I see - the reality Hashem created.

I myself am firmly rooted in the 'haimishe' world as well as the outside world. My married children (who are all learning), are well acquainted with news, thought, science, politics and computers despite the fact that they are very chassidish and accomplished learners, and are all 'yirai shomayim' k"ah.

Looking around myself, I feel like the last of the Mohicans. I cannot discuss the typical things I discussed years ago with my 'klei kodesh' friends because of the inevitable "where did you hear that? where did you get that? How did you see that? (referring to family pictures in an e-mail)", etc.

I feel that the baalei batim and the non-baalei batim are more and more ships passing in the night with their own language, halachos,and ideology. While there was always some room for maneuver between them, there is now a crevasse widening into a canyon.

Is this healthy for either group? For our children?

Traditionally each group has cross fertilized the other with ideas and information.

But now, when I hear al yisroel, al harobbonon I really am starting to believe that chazal knew exactly what they demarcated in kaddish. Chazal meant 5765. Today, the latter has become a different ethnic group than the former - similar, in a parallel universe, but not the same species. No longer willing or capable of cross germination to produce fertile seed. And this cross germination of ideas and of information has always been a source of strength to our people.

And then there's al talmidahun.

What will become of them and of yiddishkeit in our brave new Luddite world?

A Guten Chodesh!


Blogger Anonymous said...

Hey, you'd be surprised at the number of kollel yungerleit who have net connections.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Stx said...

I wonder...You tangentially mention the fact that radio, specifically has gone downhill since those "good old days." I wonder if you'd say the same of other things?

For example, I assume the a major reason for lack of Regent's diplomas would be the fact that the yeshivas do NOT support "higher education" for their buchrim. Now, as a girl in a college with quite a few yeshiva boys, I've seen what college does to them. Not pretty.

Does that mean that the yeshiva system should make them stronger? Possibly. Or perhaps for those boys the horrible influence of college (and yes, it's FAR worse than it ever has been; I could give you concrete examples, but it disgusts me to even write about it) was just too much of a test. Who knows? But at present, the changing situation calls for changes in focus. Perhaps.

Other things have changed as well. I'm on the internet. It has given me a lot of knowledge. Of course, about 60 seconds ago it also gave me a picture of an unclothed lady. Just a pop-up. Closed it like I always do. And yet is it SO horrible that the schools would prefer that their boys don't see this stuff, don't get desensitized to it like I am?

Just because reading the Times was okay when the most horrible thing it talked about was the silent movies, does NOT mean that the ads, articles, or ideas that are circulating in it now are necessarily beneficial at all.

Just IMHO, as I didn't grow up in the world you're speaking of, and this is the only world that I know of. Yes, I'm properly ashamed.

12:24 AM  
Blogger Leapa said...

FYI, unlike most Jewish blogsphere inhabitants, I favor filtering, which would have an excellent chance of blocking pop-ups. SP2 also does that.

I view Regents as a forced minimum education. My kids took it , didn't go to college, but those who are working have jobs typically held by college grads.

Vocational education in the proper environment, and preparation/training for the 'nisyonos' of the outside world for men is also a major ignored subject.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Isaac, Translate This! said...


Shabbat shalom to you ;)

9:37 AM  
Blogger TheProf said...

your situation between your klei kodesh friends and the fact that this is increasingly happeninga ll over, brings to mind the situation at the time of churban bayis sheini. the complete isolation by the gedolim, and here we know this means our holiest tannaim, of the majority of klal yisroel. and that this brought about the destruction and our 2000 year golus. and they themselves recognized it and called it sinas chinom. being a balabos today is somehow a blot, especially with the yeshivish world. a friend of mine asked a very well known rosh yeshiva, and this was 15 years ago, if all your boys dont get a high school education, who will pay your exorbitant tuitions in 20 years. who indeed if all the future parents of that yeshiva are kolel yungaleit, not lawyers accountants etc.

12:31 PM  

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